What To Ask At The Meeting With A Potential Wedding Photographer
Where possible, it’s recommended to meet with photographers before booking them. Preferably in person or via Skype if face to face won’t work. At the very least over the phone. Here’s a list of the best questions to ask wedding photographers.
You’re going to have the photographer with you for between 6-10 hours, often in close quarters so finding someone with a personality you feel comfortable with is essential.
So when you finally get around to meeting a couple of photographers here’s a checklist of questions you might want to ask.
This question list is neither exhaustive or essential. Use it as much as you feel is useful.
Can we see a full wedding? Websites and social media will mostly be a photographers best images and designed to attract clients like you. You need to know the full extend of what they will deliver to you. If they can’t show you a full wedding then they may only have shot models at bridal styled shoots rather than having any real wedding experience.
Have you ever shot at [your venue] before? / Have you ever shot a couple like us before? This isn’t terribly important to ask, as an experienced photographer will be able to adjust to any setting and will get to know you as a couple before the wedding. But asking this may be useful if there is something particularly unique about your wedding you want to make sure they are comfortable with.
How do you get couples relaxed in-front of camera and will you pose us? You’ll want to know the approach your photographer takes for posed images. Fine art photographers tend to be more hands on whereas a documentary style photographer will probably be less so.
How many images will we get? 50-75 per hour is typical. This lets you know what to expect and is a nice segue into…
What editing do you do? Most will offer colour correction, cropping and minimal blemish removal for the majority of your images, with more detailed retouching for images that go into your album or will be used for wall art. They may also charge extra for additional editing.
Is the style on your site / Instagram what we actually get? It probably will be, but it’s nice to check.
How long will we need to wait for our images? This will vary photographer to photographer, but 2-6 weeks is common and you can expect to wait longer during peak season.
Are you the photographer on the day? Some wedding photographers have associates and don’t always shoot every booking. As long as they guarantee the images will look like what you’ve seen on the gallery, this shouldn’t cause any major issues.
The next few questions all relate to the terms of your booking.
Do you have a contract you ask clients to sign? A simple yes here is all you need to move on to the next question. Just make sure you read it and it’s fair if you do decide to book them.
Do you require a deposit if we want to book you? How much is it? Most ask for between 20%-40% and this guarantees your date.
What are your payment terms? It’s common to pay the full amount before the wedding. This could be from 4 weeks to a few days before your wedding.
What is your cancellation policy? You’ll want to know what happens if either of you or they cancel.
What will happen if you are sick or unable to attend? Most professionals will have a network of photographers they can call upon to fill in for them.
What do you mean by all day coverage? / If we decide we want you to stay an extra hour or two on the night, can we do that? Handy to know what those terms are rather than being surprised on the night.
Make sure all of the above answers match the contract when you do read it.
Do you carry back up equipment? If they don’t, they better have a spectacular reason. I’d also hope they tell you about how they will have multiple copies of your images after the event.
Do you do a first look? It’s becoming more common, especially if you are having a non-traditional wedding. The couple meet before the ceremony and have their first look in private. I recommend this if it doesn’t encroach on your traditions.
Do you include a second shooter? If you have a guest list over 150 a second shooter can be useful to make sure everyone is captured on digital film. Note that if they say they have an assistant that an assistant doesn’t usually take photos. They are there to help with lighting or equipment.
If you already have booked, or plan on booking other suppliers, like a videographer, let them know. They will usually contact each other before the wedding to co-ordinate.
The last of these questions are less important, but might help swing your decision one way of the other.
Whats the process? You’ll get a more detailed answer once you book, but it’s nice to get a feel for how often they’ll be in contact and any key steps between now and the weeding.
What happens after the wedding? This ties into the “How long will we need to wait for our images?” question, but might be relevant if you are getting an album or are doing a ‘trash the dress’ shoot.
Do you design our album for us of do we get input? Neither is right or wrong, but if the photographer offers, take that option. the process will be faster and they know what looks good.
What extra’s or upgrades do you offer on top of your packages? Look out for anything you would normally expect to be included. There might be a hard sell coming.
Do you have any qualifications/awards? Qualifications are not essential and don’t guarantee quality.
What do you normally wear? Most photographers will aim for a blend between function and form. If it’s important they look a certain way for you, let them know.
Are you full time? There are layers to this answer. You could be full time as a photographer but weddings make a up a small portion of your workload. Equally, there are some amazing part-time photographers you have other jobs so judge them on their work and how professionally they run their site and social media.
Can we have the RAW files? Don’t ask this. Photographers should never part with their unedited images. You chose them and are paying them for their creative talent and the images represent their brand so handing out RAW images could damage their reputation.
Do you have any suggestions for other questions to add? Have you had any interesting experiences when meeting a photographer? Let us know if the comments below!